By Zoe Clark
It’s essential for any parent to teach their child the importance of both work and play. There’s no reason, however, why the two can’t be combined. What better way to teach a lesson than through a fun game?
Let’s say your child gets a list of words he has to learn how to spell. If you combine this with a jump-rope game, it becomes a very fun activity. After you read the word aloud, your child spells it out while jumping the rope after each letter. Once the task is completed successfully, the child writes down the word in chalk. If you have two or more children, they can take turns.
Photo by: Monika Elena
Another popular word game is Scrabble and maybe you didn’t know you can take it out to your backyard for added fun. What you need is a few comfortable seats, wooden stakes, several pieces of rope and a set of big letter tiles to string on the ropes. (Have your child assist you in making these, it’s fun for both of you.) Each player is seated in front of a rope tied between two short stakes and the game can begin. Your child will be expanding her vocabulary and getting some fresh air at the same time, all the while having a lot of fun. If you have a concrete pool in the backyard, a game of Scrabble can be even more fun. Click here to learn how.
It’s also possible to take a classroom staple like blackboard and re-imagine it as an educational toy for your kids. If you mount one to your fence, the kids will go wild with it, enjoying themselves in the open air instead of a cramped, closed space one usually finds blackboards in.
Photo by: Ellyn Perreault
What about math? Well, believe it or not, you can create a really fun math game using some water balloons, something your child will appreciate after the drudgery of the (admittedly necessary) homework. What you want to do is write the numbers on the balloons filled with water, put them in several baskets and then have your child pull the balloons out so that they add up to the previously chosen sum. For added fun, make a wooden target your child can throw the balloons at after each successfully completed task.
Finally, the games that emphasize physical activity should not be forgotten. A simple tug-of-war game can be made even more exciting if the children are standing on wooden or plastic crates. Just make sure they’re safe. The backyard is also a great area for a fun sack race, guaranteed to bring plenty of laughs to everyone. If there are lots of fallen leaves in the backyard, your child can help you arrange it into a kind of maze, and excellent way to combine work and play. All these games will help children develop their motor skills. Again, for those who have pools in their backyards, the number of fun games for children is limitless.
Just remember, learning is twice as fun if there’s a game involved.